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Writer's Clan

Your Expectations

If I were upto your expectations,
And walked and talked with your decision,
I wonder who I’d be.

If I were upto your expectations,
And my hopes and dreams depended on your visions,
I know, that I wouldn’t have been me.

If I were upto your expectations,
And my career was decided with your precision,
There wouldn’t have been any diversity,

If I were upto your expectations,
And we’d walk the same path,
We would’ve lost our own identity.

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Writer's Clan

Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai

A Documentary by Nakul Singh Sawhney, ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ recently aired on Netflix, belongs to genre of ‘controversial’ movies which are released after being banned in a number of states due to protests.

Based on the real events that led to the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013 and the aftermath of it, the documentary attempts to tell a story through the eyes of the various stakeholders who were involved, whether they desired or not, in the communal violence that shook the roots of Hindu-Muslim unity which was prided amongst by the various villages of Western Uttar Pradesh districts.

The genius of the film lies in the slow progression it makes towards the major issue of communal violence. As an audience, there is not a moment where the filmmaker seems to be imposing his own ideas or belief as to what conspired. The narrator, while facilitates an easy interpretation of the story, nowhere seems to take a biased opinion except for stating the facts. It is the statements of the people involved, be it the small girl sketching her family’s figure and describing what happened or the elderly of the village who are shown to discussing the parties who they think were responsible and for whom they are going to vote. The documentary successfully builds a logical trajectory as it takes the audience with it in unravelling the layers and finally reach the tipping and the triggering point of the whole incident.

Not limiting itself to the incident, it further shows us the differences that exist in general amongst the people and the range of contrasting opinions that can exist because of the lack of education and awareness amongst the rural societies of India. If educated and aware, the lack of proper platforms to air their grievances on and the lack of proper institutions (read: legal aid), also serve as a detriment to performing the functions of responsible members of a society. The interviews of stakeholders ranging from the immediately affected to the ones that closely witnessed and anticipated the likelihood of such violence, including a special segment on women whose honour was used as a typical scapegoat for blaming the cause as well as the resultant violence, is applaudable.

An alumnus of FTII and a filmmaker who has had close connections with other political and social issues such as honour killing, Sawhney’s attempt is successful in the sense it strikes just-the-right chord with the audiences and the rest of the population of the country who might be completely unaware of the actual reasons leading to the incident. The instances in the story makes the audience realise the gravity of the riots which have almost become an everyday part of the news articles and headlines. A small boy of hardly 10 years old mumbling “Humari dukaan phunk di” because of the trauma that he suffered and going completely quiet after, the school headmaster who was completely ridiculed and made to leave, the change in slogans of the various farmer’s associations and the deplorable conditions of the various refugee camps set up in the aftermath etc.

Heartbreaking on one hand, the documentary endearingly captures the change that the riots inspired in the otherwise united and friendly community of religious differences. The movie concludes with Gorakh Pandey’s message that a day would dawn when the poor and the unarmed would stop getting scared and that is the day that the rich and the wicked should fear! Sawhney succeeds in portraying this message with utmost honesty and dignity making it a must-watch for every Indian, if not to discover the details Muzaffarnagar riots, but at least to understand the basic fabric of ‘us’ as a nation and never letting others use it to our disadvantage.

Writer's Clan

Storms and Tranquility

Part Two

She counted the scars on me while I pretended to count the city lights to distract myself from her touch. She says smile is the ailment to all the pain we have within ourselves. So I always smile at her with broken, stitched lips with the hope that may be my smile heals her pain like her smile heals mine. I had lost all faith in worldly relationships until I met her. It all made sense at once. All the great loses I have had in life is worth this one win I have in the facade of a best friend. No, it isn’t love attraction. Neither are we love struck. We are pain struck like so many people of this generation. We are just lucky enough for this once in life that we connected to each other like each nerve of mine connected to hers. I had believed someone could understand me only if they had my mindset but she came throwing reality onto me like a rock. She said its not the mentality that connects, its the stories that do. I had believed scars only rot us as a person and she showed me how scars could beautify us as a person. I was taught to keep my things to myself and be insecure of what I have. She comes off as a person, I want to let free and still be secured of having her for a lifetime. I believe its our pain that found each other so we could share it with each other. She is a mind of infinity talking about destinies.

“In the end, we all leave it up to destiny,

It’s our tryst with the destiny.”she said.

~Simran. Riyaz

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All About the Lens

How beauty is built

Pictures by Abdul Karim

The marbles don’t just smell of grandeur, the lofty pillars don’t stand in pride, the huge dome doesn’t speak of opulence and this place doesn’t feel like religion.

These pillars, they smell of the hands of the artists who embellished its pieces. They stand tall for the champions who struggled for its stones and bricks. They echo of the sigh of the refugees whose soul found console in its shed and of the wanderer who found faith on its step.

These pillars, they speak of beauty. They speak of spirituality. They speak of simplicity accentuated by twenty years of people’s contribution.

That’s what it took to build Masjid-e-Rashdiya, a mosque at Darul Uloom, Uttar Pradesh. Twenty years of unprecedented dedication and hardwork.

All About the Lens

Breathe again

Picture by Abdul Karim

I remember the song the drops played on my pane. The song, I recalled, it used to play before the hands scuffled them. Hitting the right keys, the soft sounds pulsating in the stillness, waking me from my sullen reverie. And I felt it then, the sudden cry and the rushing embrace. That hasty warm embrace. I remember I breathed it in when my lungs tried vehemently to breathe all my soul out. I remember it staring at me when I opened my eyes back to light.

I let the string loose, stepped down from the stool. I went closer to the music and the warm embrace.
I smelled life for once again and it felt good.